Cold Water Immersion: 5 Reasons Why You Should Take The Plunge
When I tell people I regularly take cold showers, I generally get a facial reaction that says “This guy is fucking mad”. What they don’t realise is that cold showers activate the body’s natural healing powers that can relieve the symptoms of many medical conditions and promote a sense of health and well-being. When you do it regularly, cold water immersion can even provide long-lasting changes to your body’s immune, lymphatic, circulatory and digestive systems that enhance the overall quality of your life and best of all, it won’t cost you a CENT. I’ve compiled a list of 5 reasons why you should take the plunge with me. (Not literally with me).
1. It Improves Our Lymphatic and Immune Systems.
Our lymphatic system is a complex bundle of vessels that run through our bodies. Their job is to cleanse our body by removing bacteria, and microbes from our cells (All the nasty shit). The lymphatic system relies on muscle contraction to pump the lymph fluid through our vessels. If you don’t give them a workout every now and again, your lymphatic system can become inefficient. Your lymph fluid can stagnate, causing the ‘nasty shit’ to build up in your body. This can cause colds, joint pain, infections and even diseases.
When you immerse yourself in cold water, it causes your lymph vessels to contract, forcing your lymphatic system to pump those lymph fluids throughout your body, flushing ‘all the nasty shit’ from the area. That process triggers our immune system’s white blood cells. They attack and destroy any ‘nasty shit’ in the fluid.
2. It Reduces Muscle Inflammation.
Do you recall that time you worked out really hard and felt sore for days after it? That muscle pain you experienced is known as delayed onset muscle soreness or ‘DOMS’. ‘DOMS’ is caused by micro-tears in the muscle fibres. That micro tear creates an inflammatory response. Hence why a lot of people who have had a bad case of ‘DOMS’ resort to anti-inflammatory medication for pain relief.
I’m sure you’ve seen athletes take ice baths. They’re not doing it because they’re hot, they’re doing it to help counteract ‘DOMS’. Cold-water immersion has been scientifically proven to do precisely that.
Cold water lowers the temperature in the damaged muscles and constricts blood vessels. This helps to reduce inflammation and even numb your nerve endings to bring immediate relief to pain.
3. It Can Turn Your Frown Upside Down.
We all have shitty days, right? Some people turn to medication, others drink wine straight from the bottle. The next time you’re feeling down in the dumps, try taking a cold shower. Cold-water immersion can turn your frown upside down.
A research study back in 2007 found that taking cold showers can help treat depression symptoms, and if done regularly, they may be more beneficial than prescription medications. How could that be? Well, cold water triggers a flood of mood-boosting neurotransmitters that make you feel happy. On a separate study carried out, they analysed the effects of regular winter swimming on the mood of swimmers. That study showed that after four months of routine cold water swimming, the subjects felt more energetic, active and happier than the control group.
4. It Can Facilitate Weight Loss.
If you do it regularly, cold water immersion has been shown to boost metabolism. It can increase your whole body metabolic rate by roughly 16%.
This deviation from the body’s ideal temperature causes reactions in the body to maintain the internal temperature; some of these reactions are increased metabolic rate to produce heat, which results in weight loss.
The benefits seen are long-term and won’t occur if you do it once or twice (Sorry to burst your bubble)
5. It Builds Mental Toughness.
We live our lives continually seeking comfort. It’s not our fault though, we’re just wired that way. I think we can all agree that jumping into cold water isn’t exactly comfortable. It’s kind of like stubbing your toe, it just sucks (Don’t try that at home).
In a previous article, I mentioned the importance of getting outside our comfort zone. I genuinely believe the key to personal growth is to make yourself uncomfortable as often as possible.
By taking a cold shower, you are putting yourself into an uncomfortable situation. If you continually do that, you will build mental toughness.
Medwave. 2014 Jun 12;14(5):e5967. doi: 10.5867/medwave.2014.05.5967. Comparative Study; English Abstract; Validation…www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov